Evelyn's Rice Paper Rolls

Quantity: 24 rolls

Rolls:
1 bundle of bean threads* (available at WSM in packages of 2 or 3 bundles)
6" Vietnamese spring roll skins (at Asian grocery stores)
1 bunch cilantro (part for rolls, remainder for sauce)
fresh mint leaves
fresh basil leaves
finely shredded cabbage or lettuce
vegetables (choose 2)
1 zucchini, sliced into 24 thin, 3" long strips
1 or 2 carrots, sliced into 24 thin, 3" long strips or grated
24 strips of jicama
mung bean sprouts
proteins (choose 1 or 2)
cooked, peeled shrimp
cooked pork, cooled and sliced thinly
Asian-flavored baked tofu, sliced thinly

Dipping Sauce:
1/4 cup Vietnamese or Thai fish sauce**
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
1/4 cup cold water
1 to 2 Tbsp sugar
1 clove garlic
1 jalepeno pepper
The rest of the cilantro from the rolls

Soak the noodles according to the directions on the package, then drain and chop into shorter pieces.
Tear the leaves off the basil and mint and about half the bunch of cilantro, keep the cilantro stems
Prepare the vegetables and the protein(s).
Set all the roll ingredients up so you can reach them.
Working with one wrapper at a time, soak the wrapper in hot water for about 15 seconds; it should be pliable but not completely soft***.
Place the wet wrapper on a cutting board and place one piece of each of the vegetables about a third of the way up the wrapper from the side facing you.

Add one or two leaves of each of the herbs, a pinch of noodles, and a pinch of lettuce or cabbage
Fold the side of the wrapper nearest you up over the filling, then fold the sides in.
Place your protein(s) next to the other fillings and finish rolling up the roll, placing it seam-side down on a serving plate.
Continue until the filling ingredients are used up - a package of wrappers contains a few more than 50 wrappers, so save the rest for next time or make a double batch.

Sauce:
Place all the ingredients, including the stems and roots (if attached and cleanable) of the cilantro in a blender or food processer. Blend until smooth.

An alternate sauce is commercial Hoi-sin sauce sprinkled with chopped peanuts.

* A package of ramen noodles, cooked, drained, and cooled will also work
** for veg. sauce, substitute a combination of 1/2 soy sauce, half water for the fish sauce
*** I find that once I get into the rhythm of making the rolls, I can put the next wrapper in the water just before I add the protein to the partially-rolled wrapper.